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World in Brief: 19/04/2014

Daily round-up

US: A federal judge has found that an unnamed immigrant woman’s constitutional rights were violated when she was held in jail at the request of immigration authorities.

Recent court decisions have rejected the practice of keeping people in jail after they qualify for release while they are considered for deportation.

The rulings make it clear that local officials are not required to honour such requests and may be liable for doing so.

Several states have said they will stop honouring detention requests.

FRANCE: Special forces backed by helicopters led a pre-dawn operation on Thursday to free five humanitarian aid workers held captive by a terrorist group — killing about 10 alleged militants.

French forces intercepted two trucks carrying the hostage-takers and their captives north of Timbuktu on the Sahara’s southern rim where the five went missing on February 8.

The five Malian aid workers, including four from the Red Cross International Committee, were in good health although two had sustained minor injuries.

JAPAN: The government said yesterday that it is sending 100 soldiers and radar to an island off Taiwan in a deployment that risks angering China.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera will break ground today for a military lookout station on Yonaguni, which is just 93 miles from disputed Japanese-held islands claimed by China.

The island is much closer to China than to Japan and could extend Japanese monitoring to the Chinese mainland and track Chinese ships and aircraft circling the disputed Diaoyu islands.

PALESTINE: Thousands of peole across the West Bank and Gaza rallied on Thursday in solidarity with Israeli-held prisoners.

To mark Prisoners Day, Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has his headquarters, and hundreds took part in early rallies in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, over 2,000 people marched carrying photos of prisoners and waving Palestinian flags and another 1,000 protested in the northern city of Nablus.

NAMIBIA: Rio Tinto workers who mined uranium to supply the British and US militaries in the 1970s are suffering from cancer and other illnesses, a charity exposed yesterday.

A joint study by charity Earthlife Namibia and activists at the Labour Resources and Research Institute published this week showed that workers who had been employed at the firm’s Rossing mine in the Namib Desert were now battling cancer and respiratory ailments, after years of working in one of Africa’s largest mines.

Rio Tinto has denied knowledge of the former workers health problems, saying it would study the report.

US: A fourth member of the US navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defence contractor accused of providing cash, holidays, electronics and prostitutes for classified information.

Japan-based Petty Officer Dan Layug made an initial court appearance on Thursday, a day after he was arrested in San Diego.

Mr Layug revealed classified ship schedules and other sensitive US navy information in exchange for bribes from employees of a military contracting company, the prosecution claims.

SOUTH SUDAN: At least 20 people were killed and another 70 injured by gunmen posing as peaceful protesters who stormed a UN base in the town of Bor.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said yesterday that she strongly condemned Thursday’s “brazen, inhuman attack on unarmed civilians” at a UN base where 5,000 people were sheltering.

The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades to breach the United Nations Mission compound then fired on those sheltering inside.

UN peacekeepers opened fire on the raiders and eventually drove them off.

US: Federal judge Shira Scheindlin declined on Thursday to toss out decade-old lawsuits that accuse IBM and Ford of supporting apartheid by selling computers and cars to the South African government.

The three lawsuits seek to hold IBM and Ford responsible for race-based injustices including rape, torture and murder under apartheid.

The US Supreme Court recently ruled on the legal reach of the Alien Tort Statutee under which the plaintiffs are suing.

The 1789 statute was originally enacted to prosecute pirates and was revived recently to permit US lawsuits against those who violate human rights abroad.

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